Lent (Day 23) — “God Has Brought Laughter to Me”

Martin, in chapter 8, revisits some of the themes from before.  The chief point he seems intent on making in this chapter is that pride sets us apart from one another and God, and that humility, or poverty of spirit, opens us up to that greater world.  And this pride can be a serious sort of pride (I think of Dick Cheney or Antonin Scalia, when I think of this kind of serious pride), but it can be of a different sort — it can be us working so hard at something and then expecting everyone to take note of it (and think “What a good boy (or girl) are you?”), and then getting upset when that doesn’t happen, or when someone forgets an appointment or something and we get all huffy about how “we’ve” been forgotten by some oblivious dolt.  

I was thinking a bit of runner’s highs.  Not that I ever really experienced it, but from what I hear, you can get to a point where you are one with the course, one with the activity of running.  While that is happening, you forget about the bubble around you and are one with your surroundings, one with the activity, and you are aware of the world around you in a special way.  For me, that would be a moment of revelation, and “I live for revelation.”  And that feeling is glorious.  It is not a feeling we can maintain for long periods of time, as that feeling is something akin to ecstasy.  Most of the time we are earthbound and stuck in our heads, but we get glimpses of that overarching unity, of the world in motion around us, but not all about us.  Those moments are glorious, and seem to me as true as anything in the world.  I’d like to think that an awareness of that feeling, of that sense of the world spinning around, but not about me, enables me, when I’m at my best, to be aware when others are making the world all about them, and gently nudging them out of that self-fixation.  But that awareness is often so brief it seems illusory, and the proud and powerful do seem to take control so much that it is difficult to hold on to that greater vision.  Still, it is a vision worth holding onto.  And it’s a vision that leads to forgiveness (including self-forgiveness) and love.  

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